It’s a stark quote made all the starker by coming during an immigration committee meeting in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. The quote is from MP Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich, a member of the ruling coalition with the Kadima Party.
Israel has been caught up in the latest of its myriad imagined “existential threats” lately, this time centering around illegal immigration. Black migrants are the targets, and in Tel Aviv MPs whipped up a riot that had ralliers beating Africans in the streets.
Since then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the mass arrest of the black “infiltrators,” saying that they could “cause the negotiation of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” even though their numbers are estimated at less than 1 percent of Israel’s overall population. Israel started building prison-work-camps based on a 2009 proposal, that would have them trading manual labor for food and “shelter” inside the prison.
And this is where Shamalov-Berkovich enters into things, as a member of the “Lobby for Citizens Affected by Illegal Infiltrators.” She blasted human rights groups today on the floor of the Knesset who have been criticizing both the camps and the riots, terming them “hypocrites” and insisting that given half a chance they’d create a massive work camp system of their own to imprison the Ultra-Orthodox. “I would imprison them all for incitement and for pitting Jews against Jews,” she added.
Shamalov-Berkovich insisted that Israel’s illegal blacks “are living like animals” and that they are “compromising the security of the state and its citizens.” Even given the Israeli government’s extremely far-right positions, it would be politically difficult (and diplomatically costly) for them to mass arrest every single human rights activist and force them into work camps.